General Question

2davidc8's avatar

If you have sold something successfully on Ebay, can you help me get started?

Asked by 2davidc8 (9701points) June 9th, 2016

I have some used stuff that should still have some residual value as well as some brand new items still in original boxes that I decided I don’t need (yes, embarrassing!). I am in full declutter mode at my house.

I would like to sell these online, but I don’t like craigslist, and would like to try Ebay, but have no idea how to get started. I’ve set up a PayPal account. What’s next? Help?

Also, have you tried any of the alternatives such as Close5 or OfferUp?

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13 Answers

BellaB's avatar

Have you tried selling through any of your local Facebook groups? I’ve done fairly well in swap and sell groups there.

2davidc8's avatar

Thanks for the suggestion, @BellaB. No, I’ve not tried FB. Is it easier than Ebay?
I know that I could also try selling thru NextDoor, which is a neighborhood social networking app; some folks have put up things to sell there. I haven’t, I’ve only used NextDoor to give stuff away.

BellaB's avatar

FB is super-easy – I like it since you can fine-tune your audience but interest and/or location.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I have sold lots of things on eBay, from $5 stamps to $1000 cameras and guitars.

Your feedback score is your best advertisement on eBay. Start buying little things to create a feedback history. Pay promptly and give positive feedback.

Not everyone bothers to give you feedback, but I email and ask nicely, something like, “Hello, thanks for the sale, I gave you positive feedback and if you are happy with the sale, please click here to give me positive feedback.”

Priority Mail flat-rate boxes are a good deal for shipping. I used them whenever possible, and offer free shipping to the buyers. The price is the same wherever you ship in the US.

If you don’t include shipping, give them an exact price. I will never buy if they just say “shipping will be calculated”.

I start all my auctions at $0.01 with no reserve price. The low price attracts attention. Usually I get more than I would have asked for. A couple of times I have been disappointed.

I sell well-known items – computer stuff, guitars, photo equipment – my $0.01 strategy would not work with obscure or hand-crafted or items.

eBay has lots of online information about getting started. Take your time and read through some – this is worth money to you!
EBAY University

dxs's avatar

The biggest problem I faced when starting an eBay account was determining shipping. If you know nothing about shipping like I did. There are flat rate options and also prices based on distance. I always offer free shipping because I felt it was an incentive for people to buy my stuff. What I did is go into the post office and ask how much it costed to get the item shipped to some place modestly far away. For instance, I chose Madison, WI and I was living in Tampa, FL. I only shipped to the 48 states because of this (it’s some box you can check when you’re listing your item.) I’d factor that price into the “Buy it now” price (or auction). Ask for the least expensive price if that’s what you wish. It seems to me as though media mail is always the least expensive option, but you can only use it for books/DVDs/etc.

Ship stuff right away, but only after you receive a payment from them. It all basically runs on Paypal. Your Paypal account should have a verified address, too.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@dxs I have made it a rule to box and weigh my item BEFORE I start writing the offer. eBay gives you easy tools for calculating shipping if you know the size and weight.

Also, as I mentioned earler, Priority flat-rate boxes go to all 50 states.

Another thing – eBay has a fantastic “Global Shipping Program”. You ship to a US address, and eBay handles everything from there.

It’s another way to broaden the audience bidding on your stuff.

dxs's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay If you don’t do the flat rate as you suggest, it’s more difficult. But I’m all about getting the best deal, so I’d definitely do the rate by distance if that’s less. I’m by no means an expert on eBay, just someone who has sold something successfully.

ibstubro's avatar

It’s my opinion that nearly all the small-seller eBay traffic has moved to swap and sell groups on Facebook, as @BellaB says. There are no fees. There is no shipping (the people I know doing it meet up at designated locations on regular intervals). There’s little or no ‘format’ to learn. I would definitely try Facebook before eBay if I was a new seller.

I agree with @Call_Me_Jay on every point, eBay wise. I’ve bought and sold in the 1,000’s of items there.
My caveat is that eBay wishes to be Amazon, still, and that makes it hard on the little guy. Feedback is all important, and based on scale. It’s increasingly difficult for a newbie to accrue enough positive feedback to receive top dollar for items.

That said, I have enough positive feedback on eBay to be a successful seller but the damned shipping holds me back. As @dxs suggests, it’s hard to get your mind around. In my experience, I can box an item, weigh it, and determine that shipping will be $10. Then I see the item would fit in a flat-rate $8 box. So, I check sold items on eBay and I see where successful sellers have shipped the same item for $6! WTF?
Final wrench in the machine? You get your items boxed, weighed and listed with $6 shipping. First question? “Can you combine shipping?”

It’s my opinion that nearly all the small-seller eBay traffic has moved to swap and sell groups on Facebook, as @BellaB says.

Pachy's avatar

After getting stiffed on eBay some years ago, I switched to Craigslist, vowing never agan to sell to anyone I couldn’t meet in person.

My rule is to sell locally only, never ship, accept only cash and never via PayPal (one scam convinced me), and always add a few dollars to the price so there’s a little wiggle room for negotiation. I’ve sold many, many items on Craiglist’s local page, met some really nice people, and had absolutely no problems.

Just today I sold an electronics item via Craigslist. Got the price I wanted and met a very pleasant young in the bargain.

dxs's avatar

@Pachy How long ago was this? When I got scammed and when you did may have been a while, and I figure eBay and Paypal have updated since then to become more secure. Even @Call_Me_Jay mentioning the “Global Shipping Program” on eBay. That sounds like something that wasn’t around a few years ago when I began.

Pachy's avatar

@dxs, it was a while back and I’m sure eBay has improved, but I’ve had far too much success with Craigslist to go back. I really like selling in person.

2davidc8's avatar

I think that shipping would be a major hassle. I know that with Craigslist and apps like Close5, OfferUp, and NextDoor (and probably Facebook, too), you could stay local and require that the buyer meet with you in person, but I wonder if you could do that with Ebay also.

ibstubro's avatar

Alternately, @2davidc8, you can look for an old fashioned Flea Market to set up at one weekend, or have a yard/garage sale.

Arrange for a local thrift store to pick up the leavings a couple days later, and you’re down-sized in a matter of days.

If you just want the stuff gone, but don’t want to give any real value away, look for a local consignment auction. I have one and we do a brisk business in making ‘stuff get gone’.

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